Chaga – birch mushroom (harvesting and storage)

e g s.) i 1. Ukrainian name – birch fungus, popular names – cancer, cir.


The tinder family – Polyporaceae.

For therapeutic purposes, fruiting bodies (growths) of a birch fungus are used.

It occurs mainly in Polissya and in the Carpathians, less often in forest-steppe regions on old birch trunks, not often alder, mountain ash.

Stocks of raw materials are small, several centners of growths can be harvested annually. With the improvement of the sanitary condition of forests and the acceleration of felling turnover, the stocks are gradually decreasing. Small industrial preparations are possible in the mountainous parts of the Transcarpathian, Lvov, Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi regions, in the northern, less often in the middle parts of the Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions.

Chaga is a fruiting body of a perennial fungus that parasitizes the trunks of adult birch trees. In appearance, it is a large, black, heavy, oval or round growths up to 40-50 cm in diameter and 3-5 kg ​​in weight. The inner part of the fruit body is very hard from yellow-brown to dark brown. False and true tinder fungi similar to chaga, also growing on a birch, cannot be harvested.

Mushroom growths are harvested all year round, but it is better in spring and autumn, when the activity of raw materials is higher. They are knocked down with axes or hammers from trunks in cutting areas, wood and bark are separated, as well as loose and light brown parts. Large growths are cut into pieces with an ax. It is not necessary to collect fruiting bodies from dried trees and in the lower part of the trunks, since such raw materials are not very active. Dry in ovens or dryers at a temperature not exceeding 60 °, laying out on grates.

According to FS 42 No. 53-72, the raw material consists of pieces of the fruiting body of an indefinite shape up to 10 cm in diameter, hard, dense, covered with a black wrinkled layer, dark brown inside. There is no smell. The taste is bitter. Humidity is not higher than 14%. In the raw material, no more than 15% of loose yellow and light brown parts, 1% of the remains of bark and birch wood, fused with the growth, are allowed.

The content of ash (total) is allowed no more than 14%, extractive substances must be at least 20% with a content of 50% or more of the chromogenic complex.

Dry growths are packed in bags weighing 20-30 kg. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas on racks. Storage period 2 years. Re-control is not performed.

Chaga contains a little-studied chromogenic polyphenolcarboxylic complex, agaric acid, resins, etc. It is used as a symptomatic agent in the treatment of malignant tumors, especially stomach and lung cancer, and also for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases in the form of an infusion and a thick extract (befungin).

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